Twisting the Knob


I can’t decide if this life is worth living or not. Of course it is. Or not. I always wear extra clothes to cover up my shames, my thirteen wiggling pieces of intestine that drain ad nauseum, my guilt over something that happened in a previous incarnation that I am not aware of. My karmic returns. No matter. Life is a great neon explosion of mystery and I’m not sure why I exist or if I existed before and what I may have done. The bathroom is pea soup green and disturbing in it’s own right, a tiny cell attainable from all heights and angles and reaches that only takes up a microscopic portion of the city. Not only am I locked in here but I am locked in the city, aware on all sides, a microchip in a great intelligent supercomputer, completely reliant on my surroundings to express my own will, and completely subjugated to the physical reality of the keyboard and backlit screen. This is not worth it. There’s shit pouring out of me like bitter ale on all sides, soon to fill up this tiny cell. The toilet is laughing at me, mocking me for missing her when she was so close and she only has one purpose. Flushing away. Flushing away my waste as well as my invisible sins. Yes, you are woman, dearest toilet, or at least I have always imagined you as such. Not in a sexual or bigoted way, of course. You just take my shit, like so many other sturdy women have in the past. Nothing more.

There must be words to express things but in such times it seems as though they are just a thin net laid over what’s really true. Such is how I feel about the situation in the bathroom. The claustrophobia of being penned in by millions of souls going about their business, and the only place to hold as my own is a tiny hole replete with ceramic fixtures. Even my mind is on loan to culture, or stolen by it. No thoughts are my own. No thoughts are original. There is an anxiety couched into this that no words can possibly capture. A fear replete with smoky black bat wings and those evil glowing eyes. I know there is a hardwood floor and a thin hallway awaiting outside, but I am not amongst them, so they don’t exist, though they should and could, were I to ever escape the bathroom.

Of course this life is worth living. There is always the possibility of escape. Of hope. Of better situations. Life may only exist in the now, but all of the goodness and joy is imagined at some future or past point, and that may be enough to go on. The present moment is suffering. Always suffering. The Buddha knew it, and I know it now, watching the shit drain from me and fill up the room. Watching the toilet laugh. We are all ready to drown. Twist the knob. Exit. We will live tomorrow.

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Filed under published work, short fiction

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